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Current International Issues

Course Code: POLI 2203
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Political Science
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: Fall
course overview

The media almost daily reports on humanitarian disasters arising someplace in the world. This course examines contemporary issues in world politics including war, genocide, human security, the environment and global economic inequality. The course will assess attempts within the international system to manage conflict and the challenges posed by economic globalization and the environment.

Course Content

Unit One: Global Issues and International Relations Theory

1.1      Identification of global issues examined in the course.

1.2      Theoretical perspectives: neo-realism, neo-liberalism, constructivism, and critical approaches including Marxism, neo-colonialism, feminism, and postmodernism.

Unit Two: Conflict and Conflict Management

2.1      Globalization and violence, ethnic conflict, and genocide.

2.2      Conflict management: The United Nations, regional organizations, and the International Criminal Court.

2.3      Humanitarian intervention.

Unit Three:  The Global Economy: Trade, Monetary Relations, and Foreign Aid

3.1      Globalization, regionalization, inequality, and interdependence and dependence.

3.2      Issues in monetary relations, trade issues, economic development, debt, and foreign aid.

Unit Four: Human Security Issues and Human Rights:

4.1        The concept of human security.

4.2        Human security issues: hunger, population growth, disease, poverty, demographic shifts, migration, and refugees.

4.3        Concepts of human rights and the development and expansion of human rights agreements.

4.4        Democratization.

4.5        Economic globalization and human rights.

Unit Five: The Global Environment:

5.1        Perspectives on the environment.

5.2        Global environmental issues: the limits to growth, the greenhouse effect, the ozone layer, pollution, biodiversity, oceans, deforestation, desertification, and environmental scarcity (energy, raw materials and water resources).

5.3        Environmental regimes: greenhouse gases, ozone layer.

5.4        The relationship between the environment and conflict.

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including the use of formal lectures, structured group work by students, and in class discussion of assigned material. Additional readings may be assigned for each unit of the course and placed on reserve in the library. Where appropriate, audio-visual materials will be used.

Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be based on course objectives and in accordance with the policies of Douglas College and the Department of Political Science. A minimum of 40% of the student’s course grade will be assigned to examinations, a minimum of 30% will be assigned to the various components of a formal research essay, and a maximum of 30% will be based upon components such as quizzes, short essays, participation, and class presentations.  The instructor will provide specific evaluation criteria in course outlines.

One example of an evaluation system:

Midterm Exam                    20%

Group Presentation             20%

Research Essay                   30%

Participation                       10%

Final Exam                         20%  


Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. explain current theoretical approaches to issues in world politics;
  2. describe the key features of a variety of global issues;
  3. apply various theoretical perspectives to an analysis of a variety of contemporary global issues including ethnic conflict,  economic relations, human security and the environment; 
  4. pursue further study of international politics.

course prerequisites

POLI 1103 or permission of instructor

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.